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“No light rail!,” my wife and children chorus any time I mention the option on our next trip to the Denver metro area.

Light rail is appealing to me because it is more environmentally friendly than driving, the routes show a different perspective of the city than streets and freeways and, well, I like trains. In Denver the RTD light rail serves 100 miles on 10 with the farthest destinations being Boulder to the northwest, Golden in the west, Denver International Airport east of the city and Parker southeast.

In the spring of 2019 my family stayed for several days in a western Denver suburb. We chose one day to park and ride the light rail into the city. Our morning taste of mass transit went without a hitch. However, I convinced my wife we should again take to the rails that afternoon for a shopping donation instead of driving there another day. The trip took longer than I thought as I misread a route map on the way back. We had to transfer trains an extra time or two and ended up back at the hotel at about 9 p.m. So . . . I am in the minority at our house, until I can craft a better argument, in wanting to ride the rails in Denver again anytime soon.

Before my son and daughter are old enough to drive there may be another way to reach Denver by rail. An Associated Press article recently reported on a proposed passenger rail line in Colorado from Fort Collins to Pueblo. According to its sources, the story cited some impressive numbers. The line would serve 9,200 passengers on weekdays, CDOT said, with 3 million passengers per year. That level of ridership would reduce vehicle travel in Colorado by 210,000 miles and save 94 tons of greenhouse gas emissions each weekday. In June of 2019, a Coloradoan article by Miles Blumhardt stated the service would use existing tracks with a cost estimate of just under $5.2 billion. The trains would be a full-size diesel or electric instead of light rail because the speed would be about 80 miles per hour, not the 60 mph max offered by light rail, Blumhardt explained. The first sections could be in service by 2025.

I like the idea of driving down to Fort Collins and being able to ride into and around Denver via a train/light rail network. To make the trip more “green,” carpooling or taking a bus to Fort Collins would be an option. Panhandle Trails, based in Alliance, connects with Denver Coach Shuttle which stops in both Fort Collins and Denver. When I was single the bus to DIA proved a valuable option on more than one occasion. Now, with a family, I can see the proposed Front Range train service as a more likely possibility if we elect to avoid the stress of traffic while helping reduce pollution.

Western Nebraska residents are accustomed to driving an hour or more to reach a larger community. Alliance does offer a public transit service and the aforementioned Panhandle Trails does connect area communities, yet, despite the growing ridership of both, the majority of people still take their own vehicle whenever possible. What does it take to leave that personal vehicle on occasion and try another mode of transportation? Mixing with others on a bus or train may not be the most appealing option for everyone during the Covid 19 Pandemic.

There are other ways to reduce pollution and even promote a healthier lifestyle. Carpooling to work or school lets more cars stay parked. For people who like to get around town solo, both ATVs and motorcycles are more fuel efficient than taking a car, pickup or SUV. Walking or riding a bike whenever possible fosters good health and saves gas. Keep the environment in mind when considering travel options, there is always more than one way to get there.

 

By JOHN E. WEARE

KAB

 

“No light rail!,” my wife and children chorus any time I mention the option on our next trip to the Denver metro area.

Light rail is appealing to me because it is more environmentally friendly than driving, the routes show a different perspective of the city than streets and freeways and, well, I like trains. In Denver the RTD light rail serves 100 miles on 10 with the farthest destinations being Boulder to the northwest, Golden in the west, Denver International Airport east of the city and Parker southeast.

In the spring of 2019 my family stayed for several days in a western Denver suburb. We chose one day to park and ride the light rail into the city. Our morning taste of mass transit went without a hitch. However, I convinced my wife we should again take to the rails that afternoon for a shopping donation instead of driving there another day. The trip took longer than I thought as I misread a route map on the way back. We had to transfer trains an extra time or two and ended up back at the hotel at about 9 p.m. So . . . I am in the minority at our house, until I can craft a better argument, in wanting to ride the rails in Denver again anytime soon.

Before my son and daughter are old enough to drive there may be another way to reach Denver by rail. An Associated Press article recently reported on a proposed passenger rail line in Colorado from Fort Collins to Pueblo. According to its sources, the story cited some impressive numbers. The line would serve 9,200 passengers on weekdays, CDOT said, with 3 million passengers per year. That level of ridership would reduce vehicle travel in Colorado by 210,000 miles and save 94 tons of greenhouse gas emissions each weekday. In June of 2019, a Coloradoan article by Miles Blumhardt stated the service would use existing tracks with a cost estimate of just under $5.2 billion. The trains would be a full-size diesel or electric instead of light rail because the speed would be about 80 miles per hour, not the 60 mph max offered by light rail, Blumhardt explained. The first sections could be in service by 2025.

I like the idea of driving down to Fort Collins and being able to ride into and around Denver via a train/light rail network. To make the trip more “green,” carpooling or taking a bus to Fort Collins would be an option. Panhandle Trails, based in Alliance, connects with Denver Coach Shuttle which stops in both Fort Collins and Denver. When I was single the bus to DIA proved a valuable option on more than one occasion. Now, with a family, I can see the proposed Front Range train service as a more likely possibility if we elect to avoid the stress of traffic while helping reduce pollution.

Western Nebraska residents are accustomed to driving an hour or more to reach a larger community. Alliance does offer a public transit service and the aforementioned Panhandle Trails does connect area communities, yet, despite the growing ridership of both, the majority of people still take their own vehicle whenever possible. What does it take to leave that personal vehicle on occasion and try another mode of transportation? Mixing with others on a bus or train may not be the most appealing option for everyone during the Covid 19 Pandemic.

There are other ways to reduce pollution and even promote a healthier lifestyle. Carpooling to work or school lets more cars stay parked. For people who like to get around town solo, both ATVs and motorcycles are more fuel efficient than taking a car, pickup or SUV. Walking or riding a bike whenever possible fosters good health and saves gas. Keep the environment in mind when considering travel options, there is always more than one way to get there.

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